Day 40 – Pie Face

It was adorable how excited Henry was to buy Cadence a birthday gift this year. He talked for days about going shopping, and kept insisting that Cadence wanted a Buzz Lightyear rocket. (We warned her ahead of time that she might get something Buzz Lightyear related if we weren’t able to talk him out of it at the store, and she was cool with it. She’s such a good sister!)

Luckily, there were no Buzz Lightyear rockets to be found, and after a few laps around the Target toy aisle, Henry finally settled on getting his sister the game Pie Face! And for the last 6 days, he has been asking nonstop to play “the cream game.”

I don’t know exactly what he thought this game was, but when we finally busted it out to play today and Stevie explained that he might get slapped in the face with whipped cream, Henry suddenly didn’t seem so sure about the whole thing.

And you know hilarity ensued.

Day 34 – Happy 9th Birthday Miss C!

Nine years ago today, this beautiful soul made me a Mom.

It’s been a wild ride (and if you want to read about how the wild ride started, CLICK HERE), but damn it has been worth it to see our sweet baby girl grow into a kind, confident, and capable child. I’m amazed by her daily. She’s witty and sarcastic and she’s got a laugh that’s downright infectious. She’s got a great big heart and is a friend to everyone she meets. And she’s the best big sister I’ve ever seen, staying ever compassionate and patient when Henry is in full toddler meltdown mode.

I find myself wondering daily how I get to be so blessed to be her Momma.

Happy 9th Birthday Cadence LaRue! I can’t wait to see where your story goes from here.

Day 33 – Miss C’s birthday skate party

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when Cadence decided she wanted to try an ice skating party for her birthday. But being able to rent the ice for an hour, the party room for an hour, and have all the pizza, soda, and ice skates included? I was sold.

Before today, I’ve been on the ice exactly twice in my life, but damn if I didn’t impress myself by not even falling! (Can’t say the same for Stevie…he was showing off skating backward and the next thing I knew, he was on his butt on the ice. Haha!)

We had way too much fun! And I’ve got a sneaking suspicion I’m going to be a little sore tomorrow, but I gotta say…totally worth it!

Lucky 7

My baby Cadence turned seven today.

Now, all of a sudden, I look at her and all the baby is officially gone. I listen to her talking, look at her face or the way she moves and I get glimpses of the adult she will become. She’s in this strange in-between place–where she is still very much a child, but where she also shows me daily just how smart and perceptive and wise she is.

She’s seven, and for some reason, that’s really hard for me to wrap my mind around.

For the past few years, I’ve shared Cadence’s crazy birth story on my blog as a 4-part series, detailing the events and the chaos and the seemingly endless days in the hospital that led up to her abrupt arrival. Most people who follow my blog are familiar with the story, but if you missed it, you can read it HERE.

In some strange way, it has always felt to me like Cadence’s crazy arrival on this earth mirrors her personality in many ways. The girl has a soul so big and full of life that it literally bursts out of her–in song lyrics and movie quotes and unbridled, infectious laughter. Her voice is raspy almost all the time because (much like her Daddy) she only seems to have one volume–LOUD.

No, Cadence’s birthday and birth story, like her, are not something that could be muted or contained. And somehow, just writing down and sharing that story every year was something I needed to do to be able to wrap my head around the fact that this beautiful child, with a presence so big it fills every room she walks into, is someone that I had a part in creating.

This year, I sat down on January 31 to start sharing Cadence’s birth saga once again, but this year it just didn’t feel right. This year, instead of focusing on the craziness that led up to the first moment Stevie and I got to hold our sweet baby Cadence in our arms, I wanted to focus on the seven years that she has now spent on this earth. Because even in the short time she’s been here, I can see how very brightly Cadence’s light shines, and how very awesome she is at spreading it around. The world is a better (and louder) place because she’s in it. And with the way things seem to be going these days, we could all use a whole lot more of Cadence-style love and light.

This birthday post is not a place for me to get political, and let’s be honest…anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always hated politics. I’m sure a whole lot of folks are starting to figure out why. But unfortunately we are living in a world where politics have permeated just about every corner of our lives, because we’ve let them.

Because we’ve let them.

And as I look at my daughter and the way she lives and loves and looks at the world, I’ve realized that it is going to be our children who save us from ourselves. They are the only ones who are able to see our world for what it really is–a place to learn and grow and connect with one another.

We’re here. We’re all here. Right now, on this planet, together. That alone should be enough. It’s the ultimate tie that binds us. Everything else is sort of arbitrary, don’t you think? I’m human. You’re human. End of story. We exist. We are conscious beings. If you ask me, everything after that is a choice.

Things happen, things we can’t control. But what we can control is how we respond to them. What we can control is how we live and how we treat each other. What we can control is the type of energy we intentionally put out into this world. So, do we spend our time here spreading the love and light? Or do we contribute to the hate and the darkness?

One of the many things that I love most about my daughter is the way she so beautifully reflects all the amazing people who have come into her life these past seven years. I look at her and I can obviously see so much of myself and Stevie. But I also see the influence of her baby brother, her grandparents and great-grandparents, her aunts and uncles and cousins, her godparents, the amazing teachers and staff at her school and her church and her extracurricular activities. And I see the influence the larger family of friends we have created and continue to connect with as often and intentionally as we can. Cadence carries a piece of all of these people with her, and it’s amazing to see.

But what is even more amazing is seeing how far Cadence’s influence has spread too.

Cadence is one of those friends who is a friend to everyone. She is kind and patient and tolerant. She is the sort of kid who will wait for you to catch up, who will make sure everyone has a turn, who will share even the last little bite of her favorite chocolate if she thinks you would like a piece. I’ve seen her stand up to bullies because she doesn’t like to see anyone being left out or getting their feelings hurt. I’ve seen her admit when she was wrong, even if it means getting punished. And I’ve seen her jump up and run over to make sure the shy kid sitting alone at the table had someone to play with.

A couple years ago, we had a yard sale, and I watched Cadence excitedly greet every child who came strolling up, eager to introduce herself and play and help the children find a toy or a book or something to take home with them. And a million times I’ve watched this bright little ball of infectious energy smile and laugh and pay a sincere compliment to someone in a waiting room or in line at the grocery store and, like magic, I’ve watched that light that burns so brightly in her grow and spread.

And what I’ve learned from all of this is that this world is what we make of it. Right now. This moment. Every day.

We can be door holders. We can be compliment givers. We can be good listeners and hug givers and friends. We can smile at the people we pass on the sidewalk. We can strike up a conversation with that person we see who always seems to be alone. We can take a moment to stop and offer a steady hand when we see someone stumbling. We can share our ideas and we can give people our full attention when they share theirs. And when we’re faced with hate and darkness and evil, we can choose to not join in. We can choose to keep our own light burning so that others might be able to see.

Happy 7th Birthday my sweet Cadence LaRue. Keep smiling. Keep shining. Keep being beautiful you.

>365 Project - Day 34 - One Year Ago Today...(part 4)

>365 Project - Day 34 - One Year Ago Today...(part 4)

>365 Project - Day 34 - One Year Ago Today...(part 4)

>365 Project - Day 36 - Cake Smash!!!

>365 Project - Day 36 - Cake Smash!!!

>365 Project - Day 38 - Spaghetti On Your Head

>365 Project - Day 105 - Naptime Mischief

>365 Project - Day 120 - The Great Outdoors

>365 Project - Day 128 - Our Greatest Hits

>365 Project - Day 124 - Cadence's First Haircut

>365 Project - Day 164 - Rub-a-Dub-Dub

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Here’s to 36

There are certain things that happen that make us pause and reflect and reevaluate our lives–things like births and deaths, crises and career changes. For Stevie and I, this past year has played host to all of these things.

Sometimes the universe just throws it all at you at once to see what you’re really made of.

And what we’ve learned from all of this is that we are a whole lot stronger, smarter, and more resilient than we ever thought we were. We were hit with enough stress and hardship this past year to drive the Dalai Lama straight off the edge and we owned it, like freakin’ bosses.

And here we are.

Yesterday I celebrated the beginning of my 36th year on this earth. What a wild and crazy ride it’s been! And I am so blessed and so thankful for all of it, for every moment, even the hard ones, because they have all brought me to this place, and this place is awesome. I’ve got a beautiful home, an incredible husband (and best friend), two gorgeous children that make me laugh and fill my heart with joy. I’ve got a big family and an even bigger circle of friends who prove to me every day that love always wins. I’ve got writing projects (several short stories, my memoir, and a novel) that are moving right along. And I’ve got a great new job that I’m excited to start next week.

Life is good, and God is good. All the time. Even when times are tough.

So today, I’m celebrating so much more than just another birthday. I’m celebrating life–the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the joys and the hardships. I’m celebrating the abundant gifts I’ve been given, the opportunities I’ve known, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m celebrating with a date night with my hubby (which included sushi, peanut butter beers, and a movie), and with the kids today as we hit the Farmer’s Market and indulge with some Hurts Donut.

Here’s to 36! So far, it’s looking pretty damn good.

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365 2016 – Day 37 – Well-Played Uncle Foerth

Cadence was super excited when a birthday gift arrived in the mail from her Uncle Foerth, but then we spied this taped to the package…

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Ugh, that dog! I still don’t miss him. Foerth? Yes. Indy? Not so much.

Cadence thought the pic was funny, so I made sure to carefully cut it off the package (since Foerth used so much clear packing tape that the envelope was damn near waterproof) so she could save it. Then she tore into the gift and immediately opened it so she could start coloring some new designs.

Thanks Uncle Foerth! We miss you!!!

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